An Unforgiving AdversaryAs of late, my family has weathered a whirlwind of oppressing darkness, and my mother has been at the center of it all yet has never stopped fighting. It is this courage, molded in the face of certain death, that makes her so strong. Though physically she is weak, and some would say mentally as well, she has not given up hope that things will be better. But she does not think of herself; she thinks of my father and me, of everyone but herself.
I have always been envious of my mom’s long brown curls, kept at just the right length, though her sense of style could use some work. Her smile has brightened every inch of our house for the past fifteen years, and she has loved to show it off, especially laughing at her own jokes. We once had a vote in our household, of who had the best sense of humor. My dad voted for himself, and I agreed, but my mom raised her hand for herself, a huge smile spreading across her face.
My mom has taken me to more summer camps than I can count, keeping my summer as busy as possible. In years past, we would spend weekends at the softball fields and weekdays in camps from Young Author’s Camp to a sailing and theater camp I have yet to remember the name of. It is in these camps I find my sweetest memories of summer. I spent a multitude of hours simply being myself, playing amongst the luscious green forests of Maine with friends new and old.
Cancer is a horrid disease, one which I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. But, my mother, the gentlest soul I know, has been burdened with not only the single worst brain cancer one can have, Glioblastoma, but MS, sleep apnea, and frozen shoulder as well, the combination of which is so rare it makes me want to cry. Why her? Why, out of the billions of other people in this world did it have to be her? She does not deserve disease, yet somehow fate has decided to give her all of them. I do not understand. She has not fought in any war, nor has she harmed a single soul throughout her existence, and yet her own mind and body have betrayed her.
It is like having your heart ripped out of your body and stomped on, hearing the news. At the time, I did not know the reality of the situation, and had clung to a hope, however dim it may have been, that the ‘bleeding’ in my mother’s brain was not a tumor, but a rare form of MS. The sudden demolishing of that hope drove a coursing river of tears from my eyes that seemed to last for hours, and school the next day was no better. I must have retold the dreadful news thirty times to teachers and friends alike, if not the first day, then the second. This made me pause, made me think about things, and I came to a conclusion that made my heart sink to an unsettling degree: my mother was never coming home.
It is events like this that allow my mother’s true character to shine through. Yes, she has suffered through unimaginable pain, but she does not let that define her. Facing insurmountable odds, she never gave up hope nor wanted any charity. “Watch over your father,” she tells me when I visit, caring more about our family’s wellbeing than her own. This is just who she is. She’s always saying, “Help Dad,” or telling my father to help me, but she never asks for any help in return. Instead she makes sure I’m as happy and comfortable as I can be, sending me off to seemingly the most beautiful places on Earth. The message she leaves me is this: the bravest of people don’t care about themselves, but instead care more for the people around them. It is not the amount of challenges they face that matter, but how they overcome these challenges to face the world.